Mental Health – Context of Care and Recovery

Mental health is more than medications, therapies, counseling, patients, and doctors. It is about a milieu of family, friends, finances, faith, and a thousand other factors. Let’s look at them. 

Years ago a friend of mine was abandoned by her husband. She and her sons have remained in the church but now the boys are out of the house and she is alone. A couple of months ago I saw her in the hall and greeted her with a big hug. Her eyes lit up – it had been a long time since she had been touched. The Beatle’s Eleanor Rigby is not just a song, but a statement of an exploding problem throughout the world – people are lonely. Doug Saunders captured this problem in his book Arrival City in which he remarked on “the silent isolation of the middle class.” He wrote of new immigrants “no longer would they hear every word and movement around them; no longer was the air constantly vibrating with the parry and banter of the entire community.”[1] The only regular noise many people hear at home are the sounds of the television and the computer.

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The Early Church – From Movement to Organization

God used the most ordinary means to make His Church the largest and most powerful organization on earth. 

There seems to be much for Christians in America to be discouraged about in 2016. Conventional wisdom holds that while the Church is growing quickly in China and the developing world, Europe and America are in the “post Christian” doldrums. The 2016 presidential campaign has taken twists and turns that have distressed some evangelical believers. In her book Confessions of a White House Speechwriter, Peggy Noonan writes that growing up on Long Island in the 1950s, a woman who attempted suicide was a celebrity because no one else did it. Divorce and even adultery were unheard of. Sixty years later, such cultural morality seems a distant dream. Christians have more children than their secular counterparts, but then lose many to an implacably hostile school system.

The paragraph above reflects the feelings of many, but contains some statements that are true and others that are false. Even if every word were true, believers in Jesus Christ should never be discouraged. Over the course of dozens of recent conversations in church and at home, I have tried to reassure my brethren with the promises of God in Scripture (John 16:33, Romans 8:28). While these verses can be encouraging, many people need more visible encouragement.

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A. Reid Jepson – Pastor, Missionary, Mentor

God gives us faithful men and women to lead us and shape us in our journey towards Christ. A. Reid Jepson was a mentor of mine. 

The classroom was empty, but I was sure it would soon be full. A junior at Biola University, I was excited about my developing relationship with God and expecting the gospel of Jesus Christ to reach the world in my lifetime.  A leader in the Student Missionary Union (SMU), I had arranged a prayer meeting to petition the Lord on some pressing missions concerns.  I had invited a dear friend, Reverend A. Reid Jepson, a long time pastor and missionary with the Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) and the Slavic Gospel Association (SGA), to address the group.  Reid had traveled many times behind the Iron Curtain and had dozens of examples of the powerful work of God in his life to share.

I had invited all of the active members of the SMU and many personal friends, selected the time and place to coordinate with their schedules, and even used my meager college income to buy a few refreshments.   Reid had known my mother for years, had taught me many things about the Lord, and he was the most faithful Christian man I knew.  Always punctual, he arrived about 20 minutes before the prayer meeting was to begin.  I arranged and rearranged the chairs, the missions materials and the snacks, and we chatted as we waited.

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